The Centers for Disease Control reported that 109,167 cases of AIDS had been diagnosed since 1981 and that approximately 40,000 persons were living with AIDS at the time of this writing. These numbers, however, are the tip of an iceberg that consists of approximately 1.5 million Americans who are infected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). As we described in earlier articles of this series, the HIV infection/AIDS epidemic has invaded the domain of the American family through heterosexual transmission, vertical transmission, drug abuse, and sexual abuse of children. Therefore, physicians for children are now facing the prospects of having to deal with this disease in their practices. If there is something unique about pediatrics and other specialties of the medical profession dealing with infants and children, it is that "prevention" of disease can be and has been used effectively. One only needs to remember the 1950s, when the poliomyelitis epidemic was causing the same, if not greater, concerns in the lives of the American families. The development and application of the "polio" vaccines has virtually eliminated the threat of poliomyelitis in our society. Similarly, the incidence of diphtheria, tetanus, and smallpox has decreased to the point that these diseases present practically no threat to the US population. Armed with these positive experiences, we need to examine what we can do today to curb the spread of the HIV infection/AIDS among infants and children, and by extension, among the general population of our country.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|State||Published - Feb 1 1990|
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